Should Not Or Shall Not Perish?


My mother belongs to a church where they give lip service to salvation by Grace, but their deeds and doctrines suggest otherwise. During a discussion she mentioned that most people quote John 3:16 incorrectly, pointing out that “…whosoever believeth on Him should not perish.” is usually quoted “…shall not perish.” The KJV uses ‘should’, while the NIV uses ‘shall.’ She is implying the word ‘should’ leaves the possibility that we might still perish even if we believe on the Lord Jesus. Thus, the need to obey the commandments to prove/show we love the Lord.


I’ve come across a lot of cases where people who don’t want to believe what the Bible says look for some obscure or out of context translation of a word or phrase to justify denying it. But this one takes the cake because neither “should” nor “shall” appear in the Greek text of John 3:16. They were implied to make the English text flow better. Literally, the Greek says, “All believing in him not perish but have without end life. It doesn’t say should have or shall have but have. All believers have eternal life. According to Ephesians 1:13-14 it was guaranteed to us from the moment we believed.